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Second Amendment Deja Vu

Back in 2012 I wrote a long piece explaining in detail my beliefs about the issue of guns and gun control, going so far as to propose a set of federal rules I think would do no violence to the Constitution and yet make a public show of trying to do something to address gun violence and mass shootings.  Of course it was long and required the heretical act of actually READING so it had very few hit despite my posting it on FB for the purpose of addressing posts aimed at me, a known supporter of the 2nd Amendment.

Last week, however, the craziness that happened in Las Vegas brought the usual reflexive responses showing little evidence of reflective thought.  I’d like to simply ignore those simple minds grasping desperately for a simplistic answer since their mind set has ossified into its current position and there is nothing but frustration to be gained by trying to have something bearing at least a casual resemblance to a discussion of the issues with them.

I see two issues existing, at least at this early stage in the investigation, to address.  One is specific to this crime: the shooter’s motives.  The other is a general review as to what, if anything, can be done to address this increasing violence.  Let’s start with the easy one: motivation.

I do not think this guy was insane.  This was far too carefully planned and over a long period of time.  There was, I believe, a method underlying the apparent madness; a purpose and an objective.  So far at least, I see no reason to connect him to organizations like ISIS or Al Qeada, but I believe, nevertheless, that this act was a desperate action to achieve attention for some purpose.  Whether it was logical or rationale is another issue, but to ferret out the motive I think we need to start looking at the results and responses, some reflexive, some reflective.

This was no alt right nut.  According to the left wing politicians and media, the victims were all redneck Trump supporters, some anchors or on-camera contributors going so far as to even publicly say the victims deserved no sympathy and one even hoped it was Trump supporters who were killed.  Let’s for the moment set that disgraceful display of blind partisanship aside and stay on point… why did he do it?

If he were a far right winger he would have been knowingly killing his own folks.  Makes no sense.  So what does?  Why would you want to kill people in that specific crowd. With all the preparations he knew precisely what the demographics of the crowd were.  Perhaps the CNN pundits with the above attitudes inadvertently told us the answer…

If that shooter, for example, believed that the attendees to that concert were, as one MSNBC idiot put it, “…all probably Trumptards” and because of their assumed beliefs were dangerous, why would it not be OK to mow them down for the sake of the country following that ideologically sound logic?

Perhaps it truly is a work of insanity, a person wanting to hold a record, even an evil one, to give some surrogate immortality to his name.  He can join the ranks of Genghis Khan, Attila, Vlad, Hitler, etc to go down in history even if on a list of dark deeds.

But at the moment, I am highly skeptical of that theory and see a dark, well conceived purpose but one as yet not made public at least by main stream news.  It makes no sense that for this level of killing he left no note, no manifesto to explain and rationalize his well thought out plans.  Or… maybe he did but it is not one that is comfortable to the mainstream and they have quashed it.  It will be interesting to see what his girlfriend says, or at least what is reported about what she says.

Now for action on gun laws.  Personally I do think focusing on gun laws is more of a distraction to show the “Choir” the purity of one’s heart than any real effort at finding solutions.  There are “feel good” additions to bans already in place one could do but not one of them would have stopped a massacre of some sort in LV.

By the way, let me be clear: I have no problems with a full auto ban and since that ban is not about a mechanism but about a result, I have no problem banning any device that can simulate full auto fire.  There is no competitive or sporting use of a full auto capability to justify its use.

At this point please read or re-read my post from 2012 on The Second Amendment.  You can simply type “amendment” in the search box in the right hand column to see it.  Then you can come back here and we’ll go from there.

There are, as pertains to gun laws, a few steps we might take that would cut down the instances of sheer evil intent: identifying and profiling unusual arsenal builders, for example, background checks to include psyche issues which can be defined as exclusions.  But sheer lunacy is not all that controllable until we make up our minds to contain it.   Shoving people with serious issues out onto the street is madness.  But this shooter was no homeless wretch; he was a millionaire.  So that doesn’t fit neatly into the narrative.

The Supreme Court has ruled that NO right is absolute.  The old law school cliché that “I have an absolute right to swing my arms but that right stops at the end of our nose” is reasonable and logical.  No matter the underlying “right” or freedom, it does not bestow on me the additional right to harm someone else or take aware their rights.  But that really creates some unintended consequences for an increasingly thin-skinned populace.

For example, how are we to modernly define “Harm?”  Physical injury is obvious, but where, in terms of rights maintenance, are the limits.  Does being offended constitute a “harm” under that view?  Does being frightened constitute a harm?  Apparently for many it actually does (and that, to me, is truly frightening…)

I’m OK with banning full auto guns but not in favor of banning guns because they are scary looking.  Threatening me with one, coercing me to do something with one is certainly a harm.  But a lawfully acquired and carefully, legally used gun that just looks like an assault rifle is no more dangerous that a plastic kids toy that looks like an assault rifle.  It is not the looks that make it dangerous.

A real “Assault Rifle” is, by definition, one that is capable of sustained full automatic fire.  A rifle that is semi-automatic that looks like the assault rifle is NOT an assault rifle.  A civilian AR-15 is NOT a military M-16 Assault Rifle.  And as I said a few paragraphs above, any additional modifications or devices that allows it to simulate the real Assault Rifle need to be banned… not the core piece.

In law there are crimes and then “Aggravated” crimes performed with a deadly weapon.  Anyone using a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime should be hammered right into the ground because the resulting reflexive fear is pervasive enough, whether grounded in any reality or not, that it threatens my right to own one peacefully.

But we have a larger issue:  do words really now do harm?  Are we so fragile a people that now words as well as sticks and stones can harm us?  Really?

When I was a kid it as axiomatic that the old “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was a priori truth. But now we contend that words can hurt and be harmful.  Oh man, do you not understand that opens up an immense logical can of worms.  If words can truly harm me then why cannot I not defend myself from that harm just as I would if the threat were from a weapon with more tangible existence?

I contend and believe strongly that it is not a gun problem we have, but an ethics and morals problem, facilitated and perpetuated by the idea that behavior and choices should have no consequences.  And if one sub-authority can rebuke a higher authority and ignore their laws, then what should compel us to do any different?

To make matters worse, the entertainment world has glorified those stepping outside the law for their own sense of vengeance starting with “Death Wish” and continuing with anti-heroes such as “The Punisher” series.  Being judge, jury, and executioner is seen as a justifiable act by them.

Well, maybe it is justifiable to deal with a personal issue such as an attack on one’s family and loved ones — I would be hard pressed to be constrained had someone killed a loved one of mine.   But the moment it goes outside that tight world, or beyond normal “Self-defense” laws, the actor becomes the aggressor and needs to be shown as such and treated as such.

But when we allow municipalities to ignore laws of higher levels of authority because they do not like them, what precedent does that set for the rest of us?  Does that mean we can ignore laws we do not like?  Why not?  How dare a state tell me I must obey THEIR laws when they are clear they do not need to obey Federal laws they do not like?

We are in dangerous water here.  What we need is careful well thought out responses not just the frightened, knee-jerk ones.  Comparisons with other countries is, as always, simple but irrelevant.  Solutions intended to last and be accepted need to come from the core values of the culture itself.

But what if we are in the transition period of throwing away those core values?  What then?
 

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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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GET A GRIP!!!

Oh Please….get a GRIP!!!

The Supreme Court just ruled on the Hobby Lobby case where the company sued to be excluded from the necessity of paying for certain types of contraception, to be precise, 4 kinds out of 20 that it considered abortive rather than preventive.  The court backed their claim and people went ballistic. I was naively startled by the response from some quarters.  The hyperbolic reaction would make you think that the decision made contraception per se illegal.  Of course it did no such thing.  What the case was all about legally and what the court tried to to was to juggle the internal conflict between two very poorly written laws passed by congress (an earlier protection for freedom of religion law signed by President Clinton and the Affordable Care Act rammed through by the disciples of Barrack) and the unintended consequences of their inevitable collision.  One reaffirmed their support for a citizen’s freedom to worship and practice their religion as their conscience dictates, and the other was the Affordable Care Act that imposed on employers the need to pay for the various types of “medical” care as defined by the politicians and lobbyists, not by doctors.

What was NOT at stake was a Constitutional issue, merely the conflict of two laws.  Even Allan Dershowitz, hardly a bastion of Conservative thought, called the ruling “Monumentally insignificant.”  In an interview the day of the decision he had this to say,

“Why is it insignificant? First of all, it was not a constitutional decision. Second, the effect will be that not a single woman will be denied contraceptive care or birth control care,” he said.

“The opinion made it clear that there are alternatives by which the women can get adequate contraceptive care and won’t be burdened in any way.

“It was a decision that tried hard to balance freedom of religion against the needs of the government. If the majority doesn’t like it, they can change it tomorrow because it’s not a constitutional decision.”

“[It] won’t, though, because Congress does support freedom of religion. I met the people from Hobby Lobby, they’re very decent people. I disagree with their views, but who am I to tell them that they’re wrong about their religious view?” Dershowitz said.

“They regard these four or five methods of contraception as abortion and as murder, and they just don’t want to be part of it. I don’t blame them for that, especially since there are alternatives.

“The Supreme Court made it clear: this is not as if they would refuse to vaccinate their employees, because vaccination protects all of us. This is something that can easily be balanced . . . It’s a win, win . . . Ten years from now or five years from now. no one will remember this decision.”

Nor was the issue of contraception itself questioned… merely who has to pay for it.  Let me be perfectly clear here… personally I believe that a woman has an absolute right to do with her own body anything she wishes.  Period.  But… if what she does with it is a result of a choice by her to engage in specific behavior, then I think the burden to deal with any potential consequences of that choice belongs to her as well.  If two people are involved, as in sexual relations, I do think that burden should be shared by BOTH parties and would favor legislation that made any man shown by DNA testing to be the father of a child liable for at least half of the costs of raising and parenting that child EVEN IF the woman subsequently got married to someone else.  But if the behavior was a matter of choice, and it was consensual in every way, then I do not feel the slightest imperative to have to contribute to paying for the consequences either as a taxpayer or as a consumer via higher prices.

Let me be equally clear here; if the behavior was NOT a matter of choice by the woman, i.e. if she was raped or in NO WAY consented to it – to include simply saying, “No!” then it is a completely different story.  The man involved, the direct and proximate cause of any result, should bear the burden for ALL costs whether that is for an abortion or for the raising of that child and I would support legislation to make that the law of the land.

I believe in Freedom.  But there is a price for Freedom, writ large and writ small.  The price for our nation’s freedom has been and will continue to be paid in blood by those willing to fight for it, even to provide those freedoms to others too craven to fight for it themselves.  But there is also a price for the application of those freedoms, and those should be paid by the citizens specifically enjoying those freedoms.

For Example, another current hot topic is the 2nd Amendment and Gun Rights.  Let’s compare that with contraception “rights” from a Constitutional perspective.  If you have followed this blog at all you know I come down hard on those irresponsible gun owners that abuse their rights vis-à-vis guns and believe they should be hammered into the ground and perhaps be considered even treasonous since their actions bring about a real threat to the continuation of that (to me) fundamental right. At a very minimum, the individual cost of exercising a right is personal responsibility and personal accountability when that right is abused.  But apart from the granting of the right to engage in certain freedoms, there is no further entitlement granted by the Constitution or common sense.

For example,even though the right to bear arms is specifically spelled out in the Constitution, there is no place where it mandates that the government must supply the citizenry with guns.  They have a right to own them but must bear the cost of purchase and maintenance on their own if they choose to own one.  I think that is fair.  I would not be opposed if with the right to own a weapon came a duty to train and gain skill and discipline so long as the government did not have to pay for it.  But the Constitution does not mandate that all citizens acquire weapons, they are also perfectly free to NOT do so.  Therefore it has taken on itself no duty to provide the weaponry, it is a matter of choice whether to exercise that right or not.

But nowhere in the entire constitution is there a single word about any “right” to contraception or even abortion.  Those rights are modernly implied but not specifically spelled out.  So if there is no mandate for the government to purchase the weapons for which they specifically grant the rights of ownership, by what sophistry of reasoning do we think there is a mandate for them to purchase or cause to be purchased contraception for a behavioral choice?  I support making the costs applicable to the parties making the choices and engaging in the behaviors, but not in making uninvolved third parties liable for them.

This is hardly an isolated issue.  We are also, for example, granted freedom of the press but not the Right to receive free newspapers; we are granted freedom to assemble but not the Right to escape any costs of the assembly; we have the freedom to travel between jurisdictions but not the Right to a government-provided free means of transportation.  Those are freedoms spelled out carefully in the Bill of Rights, freedoms we often take for granted, but the costs of enjoying them is borne by the people engaging in them.  In many states including my home, Colorado, you have the absolute freedom to head off into the wilds but you must supply your own gear and if you get in trouble you will be liable for the cost of your rescue.

So even though this specific decision was not in any way tied to our freedom to have sex, to use contraceptives, to have abortions, it is being reviewed as if it somehow prohibited all of those things and was an attack on the Rights of women.  I do not believe it did any such thing.  One author stated that by not paying for it we were denying women the use of them.  What?  We would be denying the use if we made them illegal and said NO ONE can buy them.  Where did this new entitlement get spelled out?

Those who know me know I have a limp that comes from a service-connected injury.  Before that I could run, climb, do all manner of activities that required leg strength.  But no more.  Now I would dearly love to be able to climb to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite, but it is, for all practical purposes, impossible for me.  But wait, that is a public federal park.  Wheel chair access is mandated so why not an elevator or chair lift up the back of Half Dome?  Because it is stupid.  I would vote against it even though it might allow me to do something I would like.  Even though I was injured in service to the country I do not feel I am somehow entitled to that level of accommodation.  Sometimes live just deals you a bad hand.  Boo Hoo.  But that does not mean, in my mind, that the government owes me the cost and effort of making the limitations I sometimes face all go away. It may owe me a basic level of care and thus far it has provided that through the V.A. and I have to tell you I have no complaints about the care I have received in Colorado or California.  But it does not owe me the eradication of all inconveniences my injuries have created.

I do not philosophically oppose broad aid in health care even though I think the specifics of of AHCA are galactically ill conceived and will ultimately be economically ruinous for far more people than it will help.  For catastrophic illnesses that sometimes blindside us the potential was there to create a policy that could have been incredibly valuable. But I do not believe the government should bew paying for voluntary behavior even if it is not illegal behavior.  And no, by the way, I do NOT believe it ought to be paying for ED medicine such as Viagra for the exact same reasons.  But doing one stupid thing does not mandate doing another stupid thing… it means the first stupid thing should be stopped not used as an excuse for more.

So, again, get a grip here.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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And Lo, The Gun Spake Unto Him…

San Diego — On Friday news of a horrific nearly inconceivable school massacre flooded the airwaves.  I was still in Denver and actually very near Columbine when that incident unfolded.  When such things happen we are left stunned, saddened, and then searching for answers.

Even the great campaigner-in-chief, the tireless ideologue, King Barrack I, knew it was time to give it a rest when addressing the nation following the tragic and senseless murder of children in New England this past week. You know I intently dislike his policies but this time, he was spot on in his eloquent intitial statements to the public.  The human tragedy won’t distract him for long before he uses it for his agenda, but at least at that moment, for once in his reign, he took the right tack.  But not so for his sycophantic followers on Facebook.  Oh no, they will never be said to miss a chance to spew their pabalum to the hordes of willing co-whiners hanging on every word.  They will never be seen to miss a chance, especially based on a crisis or tragedy, to advance their own agendas.

The cowardly shooter himself was not, of course, seen as to blame in any way.  Poor guy; he may have had this syndrome or that neurosis, this “challenge” or been the helpless victim of bad potty training, but was at best a pawn to his poor socialization, made helpless to sort out good choices by evil corporations, chemically or genetically tainted food, and, of course we cannot overlook global warming.  Worst of all, he was apparently inescapably mesmerized by the soothing spiel of the guns he had apparently stolen from his mother (whom, out of gratitude he killed) even though he was not legally able to buy them due to his age.

Based on the shrill and unthinking (but deep feeling) screed being howled forth on Facebook, I can just hear it now as it will become the stuff of bardic legend and will find its way into the sacred texts of the agenda.  It will read something like this…

“And Lo, the evil Gun confused the man’s mind and spake thusly unto him and commanded, ‘Go ye forth thou craven soldier of evil, take hold of me in thy right hand and take hold of me in thy left hand and do ye smite those of the most innocent ye can find!  I, the Gun, have commanded thee and thou must obey.’  But the man was sore afraid and so the evil gun spake again saying, ‘Verily I say unto you, fear not, be ye calm, for thou needst only hold me and I will aim and fire myself being the creature of pure evil that I am, and thou shalt remain free of guilt and be considered blameless since it was of mine own not thine own doing.’”

This day and age will, I believe, be described by future historians as the time when those demanding entitlement and victim status finally outnumbered those who, like the brave souls of the mid and late 18th Century chafed under a previous King determined to rule not just their lives but their destinies, were themselves determined to take hold of their unalienable rights, their freedoms, and with them, accept their responsibilities.

We, the sheeple, have, it seems to me, just proven (albeit in a squeaker of an election) that the tide has shifted.  No longer in America do we have a majority of people seeking guidance from their own hearts and faith along with a demand for personal freedom and, as payment, accepting the responsibilities attendant on them.  We now have a slight but growing majority of those who seek guidance and goodies from a generous elite tyrant, who knows so much better than they what they should do and how they should think.

No longer the true “home of the brave” we are now home mostly to frightened souls willing to trade freedom for those endless goodies and the security from having to accept any responsibilities for our own actions or consequences for our own choices no matter how moronic or self-destructive.  Neither Pericles nor Solon, nor even Alexander could be more surprised and disappointed at what has happened to once mighty Greece than would be Washington and Jefferson and Franklin at what has become of the country they left us.

And with that change, perhaps appropriately toward the end of 2012 (think Maya calendar) we have reached another critical point of change; the point where we as a nation no longer deserve the freedoms paid for in blood by those who have gone before.  Perhaps our cultural 2012 apocalypse is that we have become so degraded in our ethics and depraved in our desperation to avoid approbation for behavior or restraint in our choices we cannot logically or literally be seen as the same people spoken about in our Declaration of Independence; and we are certainly no longer secure from governmental abuse by the Constitution based, as it is, on those obviously outmoded concepts of individual freedom and the restraint of government.  When we sit by without comment as our ruler sets new records in Executive Orders and the creation of bureaucratic fiefdoms, aka “Czars” all to allow the creation of laws and regulations bypassing congress, we are obviously, as a people, in collusion with the damage being done to our founding rules.

We are instead, fueled by indolence and driven by a self-anointed sense of victimized injustice, crying for a new declaration, but this time it will be a Declaration of Dependence along with a new Constitution guaranteeing us all a place at the public trough.

And such a people as we seem to be descending into obviously cannot be trusted with the means to keep the government in check or, for that matter, any tools or even thoughts, which would suggest that evil exists, that some people do evil and are evil.  Much less should such a people as we have become have granted to them rights of self reliance and the rights to the results of exercising that self reliance.  And much less the right to own a weapon.

I personally believe it is time to call “bullshit” on this idiocy of blaming a tool.  I went to my guns and hauled their little butts out to have a chat and told them not to be trying to entice me to go off and hurt innocent people and definitely not to be doing it on their own.  As carefully as I tried to listen, not one of them had a word to say to me.  Perhaps I am blessed (or cursed) with stupid guns that are just hunks of machined metal and not infused with a wicked spirit.

But according to my so-called friends on Facebook, those hunks of metal are endowed with a rudimentary though malicious intelligence and a powerful volition to either do harm on their own or to somehow, by means as yet not fully understood, trick otherwise intelligent, kind, gentle, stable individuals into taking them out and allowing them to do violence on others.  By their reckoning, it is the gun that needs banishment not the people who would never even think of violence and hurt were it not for the influence of the evil firearm.

We do not allow children these days to do anything even remotely possible to hurt themselves.  They no longer are even aware of danger since they are wrapped up in our protective gear and paranoia to be “safe.”  Children no longer trained to protect themselves against a bully of their own age have no point of reference from which to even attempt to protect themselves against an adult bent on their destruction.  Nor are they prepared to deal with the array of bullies they will find as adults in the business world.  Their overwrought protection has, in fact, made them incredibly vulnerable to all forms of physical, mental, and emotional destruction.

And yet in this Orwellian world of double speak and double think, the destroyers cannot themselves be truly responsible because if we allow for the mere possibility that a bad guy can be blamed for HIS behavior, then we open the flood gates to having our own behaviors examined and perhaps, to the detriment of our fragile egos, condemned.  To protect us from blame and scrutiny and ever feeling bad, we make it impossibly hard to get mentally unstable individuals off the streets and into some form of care or confinement while instead using that instability as an excuse for behavior.  It may be a partial explanation but it is not an excuse and it should not be tolerated.

We have reached a point where we no longer believe in the power of God but we do seem to believe in the power of an inanimate object to command its owners to commit murder and mayhem.  We hear Son of Sam say the devil spoke to him through dogs and say, “well, y’know, like maybe… he was not, like, y’know, a bad guy; he was just, like, sick and needs, y’know, to be better understood.”  Really?

I’m not even the slightest sorry that I feel we should not be called upon to spend one more penny to keep Berkowitz, Manson, Kuzinski, Hassan, et al breathing our air one more second.  To demonstrate the avoidance of bad consequences for bad behavior simply facilitates and perpetuates more bad behavior.  If it makes YOU feel good, great, but do not ask me to spend a penny paying for it.

Do not ask other innocents to die for it when the next loon that was on lots of radar screens as unstable and dangerous, whose writings indicate a desire to wreak vengeance for real or imagined slights on real or imagined tormentors, but were never confined because that would be “intolerant” or, worse, insensitive.  I call “Bullshit” on such idiocy.

Maybe Elvis isn’t dead after all… And maybe those really ARE aliens kept on ice in Area 51.

Such a population of stupid, lazy, insufferable, self-proclaimed victims and the terminably needy have no rightful place at the same table as those who have gone before; those who have accepted sacrifice, sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, to purchase and repurchase our freedoms and rights of self determination.  If this new entitled American citizen (or even non-citizen; who cares they are here and need a voice, right?) is an exemplar of what we, as a society and culture have become, then those poor devils of old made their sacrifices in vain and for nothing; the generation they fought and died to protect has slapped their efforts in the face and rejected their beliefs out of hand.

We need to end the hypocrisy of observing Veteran’s Day as if we truly respected what those veterans had done and would dedicate ourselves to protecting it.  Nonsense.  This new citizenry has, in my opinion, cast off those blood-bought rights and flung them on the dung heap of their own tolerance turned to cowardice and fear turned to ignorance gone to seed.  They have dedicated themselves to turning this country into a place those brave souls would never have fought for and certainly would never have offered their lives for.

So maybe it is time to admit that, defacto, while some of us were not paying attention, growing numbers of our citizenry have knowingly and purposefully abrogated and abdicated their claims on the rights granted in our Constitution and it needs to be re-written to accommodate this new entitled people.

We have already limited our Free Speech Rights, we have already worked hard to turn Freedom OF Religion into Freedom FROM Religion (except, of course, for the religion of others who seek to destroy us).  We have already turned the Right “peaceably to assemble” (which means to assemble lawfully) into the Right to form a mob and do damage or any unlawful act to anything in the area so long as you espouse the correct and accepted agenda.  So why not, while we are at it, simply toss out our right to maintain the weapons with which to keep government at bay since we now apparently feel the need for that government to think for us, provide for us, keep us safe from each other (though not from it), and to determine for us, with far greater wisdom than we could ever possess, how to best allocate and distribute the fruits of our labor?

Who are we, after all, to think we should have such a right to choose for ourselves?  That’s not fair.  What is fair is having those who will be productive carry the load for those that will not.  And those that will not be productive deserve everything those who will be productive earn just, apparently, because they were born.  And maybe, if we really think about it and try, as caring individuals to empathize with them, they actually deserve even more since their poor innocent egos are damaged and they are made to feel bad by having to sit by and look on as others work and they are, by their lack of effort and enterprise, left empty handed.

Let’s try something heretical, some perspective on this tragedy.  Not in any way to diminish the scope of it or the horror of it and certainly not to diminish the evil and depravity of the perpetrator; rather to understand the situation on a broader scale.

In the last few years, 2010 to 2012, there have been school murders across the globe: in Russia, in Germany, in Canada.  Even in China during those years there were multiple school attacks around the country leaving over 20 dead children and many more wounded.  But in China no one was shot: the weapons instead were knives, cleavers, and in one especially horrible case, gasoline.

The worst school massacre in this country occurred in Bath Township, Michigan… in 1927.  Thirty-eight children and a few adults were murdered by a disgruntled looser of a local election.  His weapon of choice… dynamite.

What this all should start to illustrate is that any attempt to deal with this behavior that concentrates solely on the tool to the exclusion of the individuals doing the murdering, is doomed to failure.  Concerning my views on the 2nd Amendment and what we might do about  it see the post on “The Aurora Shootings, Pt 2.”  But clearly despite the typical liberal’s desire for simplistic feel good solutions, we have got to address far more than simply whether we should any more be allowed to own a firearm.

Do you hear about those other shootings around the world even though an internet search on school attacks makes them easy to find?  No.  Don’t expect Chris Matthews, Allen Colms, or Rachel Maddow to talk about them.  Why?  Because they do not fit the agenda.

Bah.  So again I call “Bullshit!”  I think this new majority deserves the world and the government they seem to want though, if history has any predictive value, it will turn out far different than they think it will.  But I can tell you this… I sure as Hell do not want it for myself.

I believe history has shown the accuracy of the adage that when a government fears the people there is justice, but when a people fear the government there is tyranny.   But when they realize that is true… it will be too late.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Aurora Shootings Part 2: Are There Any Viable Solutions?

Be warned, this is a very long post because, for me, the topic is so important it precludes easy, fast, short review and response.  Worse, it takes some direct shots at the ethical places into which our modern culture has moved.  It is designed to grab your thinking muscle by the neck and shake it and hope the result is some serious reflection on a very serious problem. (DK)

Part one of this series dealt with suggestions on response to a situation such as the Aurora Shootings.  That is of far more immediate criticality in terms of life or death.  But any martial artist knows the best way to deal with a punch is to not be there when it arrives.  If there were a way of trying to eliminate or at least reduce the incidence of these heinous cowardly acts that would be far better than having to undertake the incredibly dangerous counter to the attack.

I promised I would do as I asked of my Facebook “friends” which is to research the issue and present my own evaluation and suggestions in my own way without resorting to bumper-sticker/cartoon level responses using someone else’s talking points.

Neither my liberal nor my conservative friends have ever let facts get in the way of an ideological rant.  The absence of data or context is irrelevant to them if they see a chance to score even a short term point.  Even if later information makes it all moot, any retraction, if one comes at all, will be in the fine print on page 85 of their screed.  I assume their hope is that listeners with attention spans as short as theirs will forget the later truth and remember only the original and oft repeated lie.

But for this part of the greater discussion, my main opponent is the liberal side of the aisle whose policies have, I believe, gradually led to where we are now, discussing a horrid atrocity of human interaction: the shootings at an Aurora Theater.

A stalwart in the liberal reactions is a repetition of their long cherished assaults on the pesky Constitution  is the 2nd Amendment and its declaration that the People (meaning the citizens of the U.S.) have a right to keep and bear arms.  If anything ever represented to them a symbol of self reliance and avoidance of the dependencies on government upon which they rely, it is an armed citizenry.  No wonder they need to crush that possibility!

And now, thanks to a crazed shooter in Aurora, they have a wonderful new chance to proselytize their evangelical and fervent loathing of the right to keep and bear arms. They have taken this opportunity by the horns and embraced it with the type of over-wrought emotion usually reserved for discussions about protecting endangered species or killing off the last vestiges of the economic approach that made our country number one in the world.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that the infantile rantings on FaceBook scream out for simple minded “solutions” ignoring that whenever those same solutions were tried in the past, they did not predictably result in any improvement and often were proven to be counterproductive.  That failure, to me, is because they do not address the real problems.  So I would like to do something they seem to be avoiding, using the Aurora Attack as a springboard, and take a broader view of what I see as a very complex set of problems, issues, and attitudes that are brought into play whenever such an event occurs.

The surface and immediate facts, upon which the knee-jerk left instantly responds, revolve around the despicable and heinous actions of some individual or groups of individuals that results in the violent deaths of innocent people.  These are often not even cases of personal and directed rage leading to the killing of some targeted individual resulting from a real or perceived insult or affront; these are indiscriminate and often logic-defying acts of cold, calculated, well-planned mass murder.

What we (myself and my liberal friends) are in complete agreement about is that there can be no possible excuse for such activity and it is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. I do hope that we also agree that serious people should engage in serious discussions and perhaps debate over ways to address the issues of eliminating or at least minimizing the occurrences from happening in the first place.  Where we disagree is about how to accomplish that.  I think however that if we get past the broken record talking points, labels, and party line blinders, our common goal can find commonly acceptable first steps toward resolution.

The left’s always-at-the-ready boilerplate response to any such event is to call for the banning of all firearms from civilian ownership.  The theory is that if all law abiding citizens were disarmed the gun deaths would go away.  I think that theory is so patently false and ridiculous on its face as to make it illogical to proffer it at all.  But the reality of its constant rehashing means it needs to be faced.

This case is no different.  Post after inane post on Facebook only addresses gun ownership via cute cartoons as the single issue to be addressed.  Sometimes descending into reductio ad absurdum approaches to imply for example, that anyone who wants to allow gun ownership must also wish to own nuclear weapons.

In my opinion that is because the left is not comfortable looking into sacred “tolerance” territory for behavioral issues or ethical issues that might play a significant role.  To them, viewing where our country has gone in terms of ethical or moral behavior is off the table and therefore only the solution of banning guns is available.   This despite the clear ease with which the bad guys obtain weapons in the most gun-restrictive venues and happily prey on the now unarmed law abiding.  I guess that makes sense coming from the same people that grant more “rights” and protections to the perpetrators of crimes than to the victims of it.

Looking therefore for a totally gun-related solution, their theory is, again, that such a ban would prohibit such horrid events from occurring.  So before we try to find a workable answer, lets see how well that one has done since we do have history available to review where it has been tried.  We also have history to review where the opposite occurs and carry permits are easier to obtain.  And we will need to understand the thinking that led the U.S. to be an armed nation to a greater extent than virtually anyplace other than Switzerland or some of the tribal areas in so-called countries living in nearly complete anarchy.

Speaking of Switzerland, there every male of age is in the military as part of their National Service requirements and is issued a current military battle rifle that they are required to keep at home, maintain, bring to the mandatory training sessions and exhibit a fairly high level of proficiency with it.  Switzerland has more shooting ranges than the US and they are in fairly constant use.  But we rarely hear (in fact I do not ever recall hearing) of incidents of violence such as plagues the U.S.

So, when we put a broader view to the question, “Do countries with strong gun control laws have lower murder rates?” it turns out the answer is far from clear cut but does trend towards a “No” answer.

For example, Mexico, Russia and Brazil are countries with stronger gun control laws than the United States — and their murder rates are much higher than ours, especially with the cartel violence in Mexico.  However, at the same time, Israel and Switzerland have even higher rates of gun ownership than the United States, and much lower murder rates than ours.

Meantime, Britain is a country with stronger gun control laws than the United States, and lower murder rates.  However, the British example does not stand up very well under scrutiny. The murder rate in New York has been several times that in London for more than two centuries — and, for most of that time, neither place had strong gun control laws. New York had strong gun control laws years before London did, but New York still had several times the murder rate of London.

It was only in the later decades of the 20th century that the British government clamped down with severe gun control laws, disarming virtually the entire law-abiding citizenry. And the result?  Gun crimes, including murder, rose as the public was disarmed.  The fact that they do not yet match our own rates masks the fact that they have seen their own rates, whatever they are, rise in the face of stronger controls.

And yet, against that statistic of increasing murder rates in Britain, murder rates in the United States declined during the same years when murder rates in Britain were rising, which were also years when Americans were buying millions more guns per year.

In our own country, as Chicago tightens its already very restrictive gun control laws its crime rate soars yet places like Virginia that loosened restrains on carry permits saw their rates drop.  Our starting point was not general crime stats but the issues surrounding such mass shootings as the reason one in Aurora.  But in my mind solutions to both, and the reasons we seem unable to find solutions, are related.  The real problem, both in discussions of mass shootings and in discussions of gun control, is that too many people are too deeply committed to a previously obtained vision that is so strong it does not allow mere facts to interfere with their beliefs, and the warm and fuzzy sense of superiority that those beliefs give them.

According to the Left, the poster child for all things wonderful in political terms are the Scandanavian countries.   And their near complete ban on firearms is seen as a model for how we ought to do it.  Yet a year ago in Norway, despite their country wide strict regulations on firearms, a lone gunman killed 77 people, mostly children.

Before we go on, let’s get a bit of terminology down, shall we?  I am so tired of hearing the term “assault rifle” thrown around by people with no real clue what it means.  First of all, by definition an “Assault Rifle” is capable of fully automatic fire.  The term does not derive from its look, its type of action, or its magazine.  There are semi-automatic rifles and pistols out there with unique styles, traditional styles, and some that look like military weapons, but unless they are capable of fully automatic or, minimally, “burst” fire, they are not assault weapons.  The so-called “Assault Rifle” ban was a paragon of misleading language and should have been called the “Scary Looking Weapons” ban.  Real “Assault Weapons” have always been severely regulated by BATF.

Nor are the guns used in these abhorrent attacks “machine guns.”  Properly, a true “Machine Gun” is belt fed and often intended for tripod mounting plus being capable of full automatic fire.  True “Assault Weapons” or “Assault Rifles” are capable of full auto and burst fire but are designed to be primarily shoulder fired or hip fired.  Both machine guns and assault rifles use rifle-based ammunition.  “Sub-Machine Guns” or “Machine Pistols” are smaller full auto weapons using pistol-based ammunition.

Real machine guns and assault weapons are already tightly regulated and require a very special and very expensive BATF Federal Firearms license to own.  Ah, I know, the terms are so heavily laden with emotion that of course if you want to cast a certain negative perspective on them that may have nothing to do with their real character you will continue to use them even knowing you are in error.

How disingenuous… but then how predictable.

In fact I think the whole thing is disingenuous and hypocritical.  This is not about controlling guns; it is about controlling people by the government.  It is not lost on tyrants or even those who wish some form of (hopefully) enlightened autocracy that the very first official act of every tyrant and tinhorn dictator has been to disarm the citizenry so they are helpless.  Switzerland has remained neutral, safe, and free from outside attack because of the ferocious will of their people to protect their country coupled with their being sufficiently armed to do it.

Dispatches collected from the Japanese following WWII revealed that some elements of the Japanese military wished to launch a major land-based offensive against the continental US but were dissuaded by the intelligence from Japanese citizens that had lived or studied in this country that revealed our population was too heavily armed already.  The Soviets discussed the difficulties of an invasion of our homeland due to the degree of gun ownership, and specifically, guns of a type to mount a real defensive action with.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not now and never was about hunting or target shooting or shooting competitions, nor was it really about self-defense in the civilian sense.  It was about making sure the government could never get so large and full of itself as to take control from the people by force nor could any outsider.  They appeared not to anticipate that weak minded, parasitical and self-proclaimed victims would simply give it away from within, but that is a discussion for another post.

If the real concern of the left and those crying for greater gun control was truly for public safety then other actions would be cried for with the same fervor.  More people are killed every year falling off ladders than are killed with firearms according to the FBI but we do not see the ladder as being at fault.  While in 2010 there were almost 9,000 firearms related deaths in the US, an unacceptable number to be sure, nearly 33,000 – over three times as many — were killed in auto accidents, most directly related to alcohol use.

So where is the hue and cry against cars?  Or some movement against alcohol?  There is a stunning silence in that corner probably because we remember the results of prohibition (and now of the “War on Drugs”) where we try to ban some inanimate object without addressing the foundational reasons for the use of it but ignore those lessons in this case because there is a lot of money in keeping the causes of the pro and anti camps alive and well.

And in any case, it really does not require a firearm to do massive violence.  Considerably more violence is committed every year with bats or knives according to FBI crime stats.  But they escape notice because they do not have the same emotional choke hold on advocates.  And that shows a vast lack of first hand knowledge.

Compared to the bloody carnage resulting from a real knife fight or even just knife attack, a quick, clean kill with a bullet is almost merciful.  Besides, according to FBI stats, knives are far more often used in personal attacks and muggings not just because they are cheap but because psychologically they can be far more intimidating.

Additionally any reasonably trained government agent knows that a pen, pencil, or even credit card can kill as quickly as any other weapon and with far less notice being given to the target.  A plastic bag, a shoe string, tie, or belt, or even pant legs will snuff out a life quietly and fairly quickly without the need for more expensive or scary looking tools or equipment.

A simple box knife in the hands of someone knowing what they are doing can be deadly even though the blade is short.  And ask any former inmate in prison how deadly a screw driver or small shank made from scrap metal can be in the hands of a dedicated user.

Timothy McVeigh demonstrated for all that would see, that properly using so common an item as ammonium nitrate fertilizer would do the job very neatly.   The Muslim Army Major on his religious quest proved that limiting firearms to the military doesn’t work either.  Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the country but is enduring a record number of murders and mayhem these past few years.  The Aurora Shooter also possessed explosive devises and had gathered the material for more.

Yet, as we noted above, in many of the states that have seriously loosened gun carry laws the violent crime statistics have gone down rather than up as the gun control advocates prophesied.

Gun control advocates said it would turn those venues that were freeing up carry permits into the “old west” and actually it did… but it was like the REAL old west, not the one of TV, movies, and dime novels.  In the real old west shootouts were rare, so rare that the very few that ever happened have become legendary.  In the real old west, Hays City, Kansas, one of the toughest cow towns reported, during the half-dozen years spanning the cattle drives from Texas to the railheads in Kansas, under a dozen homicides by firearms.  Ellsworth and Dodge City had similar low shootout records even though nearly everyone went around armed to the teeth.  How can that be?

Well the armed citizenry of the old west was comprised of recent war veterans and even though marinated in alcohol most of the time, still understood that if you got aggressive with someone, they were capable and probably willing to simply pull the gun out of their pants and shoot your lights out.  The result was in some ways an exaggerated civility and protocol, a western code of conduct, as it were, but not a daily bloodbath.  There were sociopathic exceptions but they were so few and far between that they are now legendary.   The so-called “gunfighter era” lasted roughly from the end of the civil war until around the turn of the century.  Yet the litany of known real gunfighters with a string of homicides to their score card is less than the number of years involved.

And, despite all of the movies made about outlaws and outlaw gangs taking over a town, most stories stem from Civil War guerilla raids such as the famous one on the now college town of Lawrence, KS.  In the one post war recorded instance it was actually tried (by the James/Younger gang as part of a bold two-banks-at-the-same-time robbery), the town of veterans got together and shot the gang to pieces on the street.   Armed citizens will not put up with that stuff if given the opportunity for self-defense.

Gun ownership or gun availability per se means nothing by itself and I am the poster child for that statement.  When I was growing up I  owned guns (gasps and sounds of ladies swooning in horror).  Long before Junior High School days I owned a .22 rifle with which I hunted small game with my uncle.  By High School I owned half dozen rifles and handguns.  I was good with them and by then was expected to bring in a large portion of our meat diet from the field.  I can just hear the collective, “OMG!”   Living on a farm and having chores to do meant it was not all that uncommon that I missed the bus and drove to school, a common event among farm kids.  Yet even on the dark days I knew I was destined for a fight, and even more so on the days I knew that fight was going to be with someone likely to prevail instead of me, it never occurred to me to put a gun in the car (much less in my belt), bring it to school, and use it to take out an opponent.  Nor did it occur to anyone else since it never happened.

So there we were, hormone soaked teenage males, armed to the teeth at home, and mostly very good with them; yet we never used one of our guns to settle a dispute.  Why?  Simple.  Our sense morality would not allow it.  We pummeled each other into the nurses office time and again, but never brought our guns to the fight.

By the time I was in college I was living on my step-father’s ranch and daily carried or wore one of a dozen guns I owned.  I never ever took one to school or even dreamt of using one to settle a score.  And both in high school and in college I was just one of like rural kids swimming in weaponry that never used them inappropriately.

In my opinion therefore, this country does not now have a weapons issue.   What we have, and we have it in spades, is an increasingly cultural, social, ethical, SET of issues that now with liberalized (meaning minimized) morals allows and perhaps even facilitates this type of behavior. In a word we have a moral issue.  And how did we get there?  It was easy!

By legislating a removal of consequences for behaviors we have, in essence, legislated immorality and now are seeing it coming back to common roost.  Starting in the inner cities but slowly spreading outward into the rural areas, such insistence upon consequence-free behaviors became so prevalent I doubt we will ever return to the social and moral construct which informed my youth and influenced my behavior (along with my classmates and friends).

And all we seem to be able to do now is sit around and wring our hands crying out for pointless prohibitions or take up positions of denial that just as an individual has a right to protect themselves from danger, so TOO does the society made up of those same individuals.

As the environmental degeneration of ethics and morality, cultural and social mores, make killing another human an acceptable activity aided by the desensitization of violent graphic video games and movies (via exactly the same methods as the military uses them for the identical purposes), then the resulting collection of sociopaths will find ways to do it regardless of any laws about some of the potential tools of the trade.   It would appear that the veneer of civilization is being ground extremely thin on us as restraint after restraint is removed from our behaviors as exemplified in our entertainment.

We do not ALL, as of yet, subscribe to this sociopathic, anarchist ethic, thank God, but all it takes is one or two now and then.  And the rest of us have become so utterly reliant on others to protect and take care of us, the group as a whole panics and seeks simplistic resolutions that dance around the problem rather than confront it.  In an increasingly American fashion, we spend vast amounts of energy addressing symptoms while spending an equal amount of energy avoiding addressing the causes.

And when the sociopaths among us are seen no longer as malicious savage bad guys or vermin to be coolly, methodically eliminated from our midst, but instead as poor, downtrodden victims of society suffering sadly from some neurosis, syndrome, or other malady and receive more protection than their innocent victims or the law abiding citizenry, then what on earth would you expect to be the result other than what we have going on now?

It is probably, then, far too late to even seriously talk about returning to a sense of ethics and morality that existed back in the old west or even in the middle part of this century even though returning to that state would, I think, have a major and positive effect on the problem.

Nevertheless, even though I believe that a nation governed by fewer laws is better than one governed by a litany of laws beyond anyone’s ability to know and understand them, such as we have today, I do believe that in the absence of accepted morality influencing social behavior, there are laws, federal laws, that could be established that would help the issue without limiting our rights and freedoms.

I dislike this “make another law” approach personally and would prefer we look to the moral, ethical issues, the social and behavioral issues first.  Many of them could be resolved by removing some of our laws that work to remove consequences from behaviors.  But i am practical enough to know that is not remotely likely to happen.

It is clear that the left will never even consider approaches that force analysis and reviews of cultural and social behaviors because they have built critically dependent voting blocks by protecting their behaviors.  They are not willing to look at issues of family disintegration and fatherless families rampant in some cultural sections for fear of offending some of their constituencies.  Those areas of review are completely off limits even though it is most often from that group that much of the violence stems.

And the fringe right too has its share of useful idiots who will protect behavior IT wants to continue with, sans consequences, such as drunken driving.  When looked at through the prism of current political parties I do not see any good guys here and certainly no one willing to tackle this head on.   This side also refuses to see the danger they allow to grow to their own position on the 2nd Amendment, which I generally support, by allowing to continue an environment that scares the bejesus out of the other, and growing, side.

Machiavelli pointed out clearly that fear was a far more powerful influence on a population’s behavior than love.  And if we allow that fear to mount and be exploited by the left to remove our abilities at self defense from our own government gone off the rails, should that ever happen, then in our blinded zeal we will have set in motion the very actions that will destroy us as surely as they will.

So, in my opinion, unfortunately, only from the firearms side can come the start of a solution.  This is the only side with at least a few individuals left willing or able to honestly review history to determine, by reading the very clear wording of documents and the voluminous letters of the founders, what was truly intended and why, and then apply that in a way that does not do excessive violence to our Rights and yet does seek to address the abuse of those rights that must be stopped or minimized.

Therefore, sadly, I would propose the following Federal Firearms Regulation:

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 Preamble:  WE the PEOPLE, as individuals, are guaranteed in our Constitution the right to keep and bear (meaning own and carry) firearms.  But the reason is too often overlooked even though it is clearly spelled out.  It is for the Security of our Free State.  Period.

This treasured Right is not just about protection from invasion from without as is often claimed.  Such invasion concern was certainly part of it and proved prescient in 1812 and again for contemplated invasions during WWII and by the Soviets.  But in addition to those concerns, the founders looked deeply into the history of tyrannical and abusive governments and did not want to ever risk letting their own government become antithetical to the goals and objectives of their newly created Republic.  In order to secure it and the freedom of the people from abuse by its own government it sought to establish but which they anticipated one day might happen, in contrast to disarming the people as autocrats do automatically, they would allow the people to remained armed and able to repel invaders or to expel would-be tyrants.

That security measure of an armed citizenry is so vital, the citizen’s ability to say “No” to a government gone off the rails so foundational to a free people, that to threaten that right by actions that could get a significant portion of the citizenry to want to limit or remove that right, should be seen as tantamount to treason and subject to the same level of punishments.  Therefore I would propose the following laws:

Article 1.A.  Any use of a firearm coincident with or used to facilitate an illegal action of any kind is to be deemed a felony under Federal Law punishable by a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in a federal facility.   If the illegal action involves, directly or indirectly, the illegal taking of a life, then for a minimum level offense (i.e. manslaughter) a mandatory 20 years of Federal incarceration is added to whatever punishment flows from the primary crime.  If the offense is 1st or 2nd Degree murder then life imprisonment at hard labor is mandated, and for cases of 1st Degree Murder where the guilt of the accused can be proven to a scientific certainty, the use of a firearm in the commission of that crime shall automatically be deemed a capital offense in which the Death Penalty shall automatically be available.
1.B.  Individuals not holding current U.S. citizenship and not being sworn foreign law enforcement officers expressly in our country working in conjunction with domestic or federal law enforcement and permitted to carry a firearm, shall, if found with a firearm or other deadly weapon on their persons, be considered prima facie guilty of a federal felony with a mandatory sentence of 5 years with automatic deportation to their country of origin to follow completion of sentence.

Article 2.A  Any natural or naturalized citizen of the U.S., with the exception of convicted felons, individuals convicted of domestic abuse, or held or registered as sexual offenders, or mental health risks to themselves or others, shall have the right to apply for a federal firearms carry permit.  Said permit shall only be issued on completion of a rigorous and background investigation, training and testing regiment to include psychological evaluations, target identification drills, precision shooting, and general competence with the weapon or weapons being permitted.  Upon passing all qualification training and testing an applicant shall be allowed to carry on their person the weapon or weapons with which they are qualified.  A reasonable fee to cover the costs of such training and testing may be imposed.
2.B.  In the event an applicant fails to pass any part of the qualification requirements the application fee will be forfeit and no permit issued.  Following the first failure, the applicant may retake the procedure within 14 days after paying a new application fee.  (It is no less expensive to retest an applicant than to test them in the first place.)  If the applicant shall fail to pass the qualifications a second time, then for all subsequent attempts applicant must wait for a period of 90 days before being allowed to retake the qualification exams and tests.
2.C.  The Federal Firearms Carry Permit shall expire after two years from the date of issue.  The Holder will have 60 days from that expiration date to re-qualify with their weapon(s) or lose their carry permit.
2.D. Legal owners of firearms which are not carry permit holders may transport their unloaded, disassembled firearms from their home to a sanctioned shooting range or to a proper hunting location.  But said firearms may not be assembled or loaded until ready to engage in the sport intended in a location set aside for such sport.
2.E.  Individuals who are not natural born, natural or naturalized citizens or any individual belonging to one or more of the prohibited classes specified in Article 2.A. may not posses firearms of any sort.  Violation of this article is a prima facie federal felony with a mandatory sentence of not less than 2 years.

Article 3.A.  Any firearm of major caliber (.30 caliber or larger) or caliber designed for rifle fire for medium or large game, any firearm carried with a Federal Carry Permit as per 2.A., or for firearms of any caliber capable of more than 8 rounds with magazine attached, shall be sold only after the weapon is ballistically tested, identified, and registered, along with owner contact data, with the FBI’s national database.  It shall be illegal for a legally registered owner of such weapon to relocate without providing an update as to the locations of the weapons so registered.  The same would apply to sales of said weapons and/or the reporting within 3 days of the theft or other loss of such weapons.
3.B.  It shall be lawful to rebarrel a firearm to improve its performance or appearance, however, any firearm subject to identification as per 3.A. which has been re-barrelled for any purpose must be re-tested and identified ballistically and re-registered in the national FBI database.
3.C.  A person in possession of a firearm to which the serial or identification number has been physically or chemically altered or erased, or to which the rifling in the barrel has been altered or defaced so as to change its ballistic characteristics and identification, shall be deemed to be prima facie guilty of a Federal Felony with a mandatory 2 year sentence upon conviction.
3.D.  It shall be considered a Federal Felony for any person identified in 2.A. as prohibited from firearm ownership to be found in possession of any type of firearm of any caliber.

Article 4.A.   It shall be a complete defense to any charge of manslaughter or murder if, and only if, the death was a result of deadly force used in self defense against the reasonable anticipation of bodily harm, the defense of others against the reasonable anticipation of their bodily harm, or to stop the commission of an aggravated felony in progress.  However the standard of reasonableness is to be adjudged by the jury during trial based on all of the available facts and evidence surrounding the incident.  Simply being paranoid or afraid of an imaginary or non-existent threat is not a defense for the use of deadly force.  Further, at such point that the initial defender continues to apply deadly force beyond neutralizing the attack and becomes the aggressor themselves, they can no longer maintain their “self defense” status.  Once the initial attack has been neutralized or rendered impotent, no further harm to the initial aggressor shall be authorized.  At that point the use of a firearm may only be continued to restrain an individual until proper authorities arrive on the scene.
4.B.  A presumption of self-defense shall be granted to an individual who uses deadly force against another individual who is in the process of invading or committing an unprivileged entry of their home or place of residence.  Citizens have a right to feel secure against attack in their own homes and to protect themselves, their families, guests, and others under their care.
4.C.  Law enforcement agencies can only execute “No-Knock” warrants of private domiciles under court authority granted upon solid evidence of potential illegal activity in the premises and reasonable expectation of extreme danger to the law enforcement personnel.  However, executing the no-knock warrant upon the wrong address, or invading an innocent home by error removes this protection and an innocent home owner retains the right to the use of deadly force to protect his home and family against unannounced intrusion until such time as law enforcement properly identifies itself and its purpose.

5.A.  The status of any weapon capable of fully automatic fire shall remain under the current regulations and licensing requirements of the BATF.  Anyone found in possession of a fully automatic firearm, or a semi-automatic firearm converted to fully automatic or burst capability but without the proper license, shall be prima facie guilty of a Federal Felony with a minimum penalty of 5 years in a Federal Facility upon conviction.
5.B.  These regulations address only firearms known as “small arms” and do not include weapons belonging to the category of “artillery” or “Ordnance” nor explosive devices nor weapons of mass destruction as defined by military convention, nor any crew-served weapon of any kind.

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Let me be as clear as I know how to be on this.  Personally I am philosophically opposed to having to create such laws and fully understand that they will satisfy no one.  As with all gun regulations they will effect only the otherwise law abiding and be ignored by the real bad guys.  But perhaps… perhaps… since the real bad guys have never been noticeable for their brilliance, enough will fail to observe the rules, get busted, be made an object lesson, and others will take note.   That indeed is my hope, but it is not my serious expectation because, again, this deals only symptomatically with the problem and not the root cause.  But for those delusion individuals who believe the answer lies in more rules then it should give them a good place to join in the discussion.

The rabid pro-gun crowd will oppose any regulations whatsoever and the rabid anti-gun crowd will oppose anything that in the end continues to allow any private gun ownership.  And neither will allow scrutiny of social and cultural issues that may turn out to have a greater impact on crime than the possession by the citizenry of firearms but runs afoul of ideological and politically correct issues.

Nevertheless the reality is that in the foreseeable future neither left leaning nor right leaning politicians will risk their re-election on gun control issues so we are left at a standstill with innocent lives hanging in the balance.  So it is time to get practical; set extreme ideologies aside, and try to construct a compromise that may have a chance at lowering the incidence of major attacks such as happened at the Aurora Theater.  But no proposal will have any value if it cannot be passed by Congress.

I personally believe the real reason is far more social and cultural in nature than one wrapped totally up in the tools.  The truth is, the left knows that is the case when they point out that the reason the Swiss and the Israelis can have so many more guns but lower crime rates is because they are culturally very different.  To say that admits on its face that the issue is not about guns; it is about cultural and social issues.  I believe it is about ethical and moral issues even more so.  But I am convinced those will never be tackled in an atmosphere of liberal “anything goes” attitudes so something else must be tried.

The above proposed law puts a huge additional penalty on anyone convicted of using a firearm in the commission of an illegal act.  That constraint actually is already part of the issue of “aggravated” offenses in some jurisdictions but this makes it a federal issue with federally mandated penalties.  Only by making it federal can the laws be consistently and predictably applied so that anyone, anywhere, knows the rules and they do not change state to state.  Yes I believe in State’s rights.  But the Right being threatened is a Constitutional one, one that effects all citizens of all states, so this is one of the very few places where a federal regulation would be, in my opinion, proper.

Ballistically identifying and registering certain guns and their owners is already a law in some states but it needs to be federally mandated and run to be effective.

And creating a trained, proficient, stable population of armed citizens would, as it does already in some jurisdiction, make the bad guy think twice about acting for fear some local will simply take them out before their fun really gets going.

As suggested above but worthy of repetition, all of those provisions are in play in some jurisdictions or another but to be effective they need to be applied consistently across the country.  To be understood and easily enforceable they need to be consistent across state lines and so need to be issued at the Federal level.

Finally, the term “militia” is not, as often claimed, a vague antique term.  It referred then and is still defined as being every able-bodied person (then it was only men) who can be called into service in case of emergency.  The militia had to arm themselves, equip themselves, and train at their own expense until such time as they were subsumed into national service.  THe Amendment speaks of a “well regulated” militia and this “regulation” addresses that directly and requires the citizen to pay their own way.

And none of those provisions in the regulation above prohibit gun ownership (except to specified classes where it is already prohibited) any more than car ownership is prohibited.  They just help to make the legitimate law abiding gun owner more keenly aware of the responsibilities of owning and carrying a deadly weapon.  And they make the infractions of it a federal offense and therefore a big deal.

And lest we forget entirely how this discussion got underway, lets return to the gunman in the event inspiring this series of posts.  It appears, increasingly, as if this was a severely disturbed individual that fits no one’s normal profile.  He was not some dummy having earned his masters and was working, though poorly, on his doctorate.  He was not poor.  He was not abandoned; his solitude was of his own making.

It remains to be seen, as of this writing, if the point of breakdown was the medical/psychological contact and whether or not his doctors knew of his violent tendencies much less any impending plans and did not, on opposition to existing laws, report it.  (Patient/Doctor confidentiality aside, it does not cover a case of a doctor having data indicating a patient is highly likely to do injury to himself or others.)  Someone suggested he left no internet trail but that is just false.  He was all over the internet including purchasing ammunition. There was nothing illegal about his online purchases but did not the pattern of them hit some Homeland Security, FBI, or NSA signal?

What is clear is that the systems, all of them individually and collectively, failed both the shooter and the theater audience, but not just because he had a gun.  Colorado is full of gun owners; I was one of them, owning enough of them to make most of my liberal California acquaintances faint dead away.  Growing up on a farm then a ranch made them common tools to me.  My paltry collection paled by comparison to that of many people I knew, hunted with, and competed against.

What has failed, in my opinion, was the social system, the moral system.  Perhaps the medical/mental health system failed as well but for that we need more information. The now ramped up intelligence system which is far better at creating sting and entrapment exercises than chasing real bad guys, and the Denver area’s gun laws which are very restrictive especially when it comes to carry permits, clearly were of no effect.  If Holmes had tried this in a rural theater, however, he most likely would have been put down after his first shot.

I do not think this or any gun regulation would have stopped the Aurora shooter though an armed audience might have brought his moment of terror to a quicker end.  It ended as quickly as it did and with the limited loss of life only because his cheap magazine jammed and he did not know how to clear it.  But had he been trained, using standard magazines and quick reloading techniques taught to military, law enforcement, and competition personnel, he could have probably done far more damage and not jammed his weapon.

The Columbine shootings, the other great Colorado shooting incident, were as much or more a failure of parenting than of gun laws.  Both of the individuals exhibited public behavior consistent with antisocial, even sociopathic tendencies, one threatening to kill others on his web site, one making pipe bombs in the garage, both having had the local sheriffs sufficiently alarmed to call upon the parents.  But they did nothing to intervene or involve themselves in their childrens’ lives and activities.  And when laws now preclude parental notification of many events in a child’s life it is harder and harder for a parent to truly monitor children activity.

The Columbine duo too did far less damage than any trained individual might have done and they lasted as long as they did, it turns out, due to failures in law enforcement to respond properly.

Nevertheless, knowing that our liberal attitudes will preclude any serious review that entails a possible conclusion of unethical or immoral behavior, that regulation above is, sadly, my opening suggestion.  I challenged posters on FaceBook to quit showing their ignorance by operating on the bumper sticker/cartoon level and to quit just repeating what other people think and start telling me what THEY think.  Well, here, in both parts of this post, I have done precisely as I asked of them, put down my own philosophy of this issue, my own conclusions, and my reasons for them.  I note  however that on FaceBook itself my challenge fell on completely deaf ears.  Imagine my surprise.

It is not important that you agree with me on any of it; what is important is that as a country, we start discussing serious issues seriously and try to find common ground to come to at least “first-step” resolutions to the many issues that face us.  I’m assuming I will succeed in irritating nearly every one but that is on purpose.  It seems only through comprehensive irritation comes the will to comprehensively, seriously, and honestly discuss these major issues.

I am a gun owner, shooter, firm and resolute believer in the 2nd Amendment.  But, sadly, I have come to believe our failing morals in this country coupled with our increasingly “entitled” parasitic attitudes virtually mandate some regulation of the USE of those weapons if we are to be able to retain the right to own them at all.  I hate that because I hate what it says about our culture, our society; about a once great people descended from those who created what was the most wonderous, exceptional country in human history.  But those were men and women of tougher and far more principled “stuff.”  Every election, fewer and fewer remain who hold to those old morals and old ethics and, like it or not we have evolved (or in my opinion Devolved) into a different species than those late 18th century giants willing to say “Give me liberty or give me death!” and both know what that meant and mean what they said.

Several posts before this one, talking about “stage theories” I listed Marx’s progressions.  It makes me ill to think now, in reviewing and researching for this post, that maybe he was on to something.  His economic view of history and interaction was flawed to its core but his speculation about future stages may have had some lucky merit.  We seem to be seeing it being played out in this country here in the early part of the 21st century.

If he was correct then the days of the self-reliant citizen are numbered and with them, the precepts, implications, and foundations of the 2nd Amendment.  This movement has nothing to do with the advent of more powerful firearms and everything to do with less powerful personal wills and ethics and moral stances.

And no, please, don’t go down the obvious path trying to understand what I am saying based on unseemly paranoia.  I am not commenting on anything specific to a given religion or a specific gender-based lifestyle; I’m not commenting on anything specific to skin color.

I am, instead, talking about a systemic decrease in the willingness of our collective cultures, races, religions, genders, political parties, to accept responsibilities for actions, consequences for choices.  That, and that alone forms my definition of morality: responsibilities and consequences and the acceptance or avoidance or even denial of them.  And by that definition I believe we are increasingly becoming an immoral society.  And with that increase comes the danger to those who wish to remain self-reliant and maintain the willingness and ability to tell the government it sees changing in ways in opposition to the founding principles… “No!  I will not let you go there in my life!”

Am I the only one who thinks this way?  If not, isn’t it time to start insisting your representatives and leaders get serious about such discussions and get our government to start working again?  And if so, then just remember, if this clearly delineated right can be abridged or rendered inoperative by an end run, so can any of them.  This will be just the start but for the reasons noted it is the necessary place those who would alter our form of government must start.  The government itself must be first brought down economically before it can be rebuilt; but the citizen’s final and awful ability to resist must be removed at the same time.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy Birthday America

San Diego – On this day in 1776, some very brave individuals dipped their quill pens in an inkwell and signed their names to a document that was to alter the course of history not just for this country but for the world.  The values embodied in that writing were, for over 100 years, the values that motivated this nation and illuminated its character until it truly became the place symbolized by the lady with the torch in New York Harbor.

Those men had backbones of steel and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish the land of the free and home of the brave.  Their words were immortal even if their bodies were not; and for that they should be grateful.  Because if they were still alive to see what we have done with their trust, a trust for which many of them actually gave their lives and fortunes, I think they would be appalled and profoundly saddened to see their political progeny with backbones of cornmeal mush.  John Adams wrote:

“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” 

If there is kindness in Heaven then Adams will not be allowed to look down.  As a nation we no longer truly understand the word ‘honor’, much less ‘sacred honor’.  I fear that in another 230-odd years into the future, if in fact we have that amount of time left, future historians will see this country as little more than a footnote in history as is Rome or Babylon to us.  Unless, that is, we quickly get our heads back on straight and our country back on course and away from the ruinous path we are now on.

Most of the celebrants today are simply out for a day off work and the chance to see some good fireworks displays where they are still allowed.  A recent survey showed that only about a 3rd of the people knew what year the Declaration of Independence was written, fewer still could name any of the signers,  a statistically insignificant number could recite any of the reasons for it, and an astonishingly low number, less than a quarter of them, knew from whom we were declaring independence.  And it gets worse,

We have so degenerated into partisan bickering that a recent Harvard study concluded that 4th of July events tended to benefit Republicans and gave no benefit to Democrats.  What???  We have a major party fielding candidates to lead the country who derive no benefit from remembrances of the date on which, for the first time, we defined this country as one which was, as noted in some of my previous posts, obsessed with freedom?  What does that say about them if it is true?  And if it is true why would anyone have any truck with them at all?

Well the reason seems to be that Marx was right after all:  people will get soft after awhile and forget the fire that was in the bellies of their elders and ancestors and come to a point where all they want from a government is to be taken care of.  And they will give up the freedoms for which those signers risked everything, so that the fruits of the labors of others will be used to carry them.

Don’t think so?  Another poll taken just a few months ago showed that for the first time ever, over half of the citizens wanted the government to partake in wealth redistribution and have the people willing to work provide the goodies for those who are not.  As a nation and culture, this country cannot survive that attitude which is anathema to everything — EVERYTHING — those signers believed in.

Rather than accept the founders’ own words about what they believed and tried to accomplish, our universities are filled with liberal professors who have reinvented them in the images of their own beliefs and ignored all of the carefully written documents and letters to the contrary.  Those teachers are, to use Lenin’s appraisal, “useful idiots.”  And students, who know only what they are taught and no longer seem willing to take the time or expend the effort to go researching and analyzing evidence on their own, swallow that poison in big single gulps.  Who needs a Jim Jones when we have a cadre of professors pouring the cultural Kool-Aid for them?

I have written before and offered quotes to show that the social and political philosophies of the founders following Locke and Burke and elegantly phrased by Washington, Jefferson, Madison and other are not what is too often taught in our schools and certainly not in mine.  I have pointed to their own writing to demonstrate what they REALLY intended with the Bill of Rights and how it was NOT even remotely close to what we modernly have come to assert.

Though I have not previously written about one of those revisionist topics, a news article today encourages me to do so.  It is now popular to try to contend that the founders were not religious people and certainly not Christian. Even our president, King Barrack, said we are not a Christian nation.  We have usurped the founding fathers’ awareness of religious abuses and consequent fear of a State Religion to declare they were not, themselves, religious and spiritual people.  But as explained by Benjamin Rush, one of the founders and our first Secretary of Education,

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty; and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments…. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity, by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws.”

Much is made modernly of Jefferson’s religious thinking and many claims are even made that he was most likely an closet atheist.  It is true he held organized religions, especially those with a priestly caste that interfered in governments, in the lowest esteem.  But that is a different matter and in a letter to John Adams, discussing Calvin, with whom he disagreed, Jefferson wrote:

 “I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did.”

Undaunted, much is also made of the alleged fact that even George Washington said that the U.S. was in no way founded on Christianity (though actually that is a quote from Adams) and also on the unfortunate fact that some quotes to the contrary by him have been shown to be, themselves, utter fabrications.  Indeed he may be one of the most often misquoted people outside of Yogi Berra and Abe Lincoln.

But there are plenty of Washington’s real letters and recorded speeches to draw from and we need to put those real lines in context as Madison admonished when he wrote that such reinventions of what people believed came from separating their words from the environments in which they lived.  In presenting one of the most critically important issues in trying to interpret the words of those no longer around to clarify things for us, Madison prophetically warned us,

“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.” 

The founders were fearful of a state religion and noted frequently the history of Henry VIII who made himself head of the Church of England.  But to separate church and state politically is a very different thing entirely from separating a culture’s reliance on foundational religious principles and values.  And we therefore need to accept that Washington also wrote:

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” and further “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Or let’s listen to John Adams…

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 

I think we are now seeing the truth of that statement come true as we increasingly lose our moral compass as we throw away our religious values.  It is true that Adams railed against the abuses of religion throughout history and so fought long and hard to make sure the new country he was helping to found did not incorporate the co-founding of a State Religion.  But for himself and his own beliefs, he also wrote:

“But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.” 

Alas, modern revisions and attempts to reinvent the founders’ beliefs and intentions didn’t start with the religious issue and has hardly stopped there.  The new interpretations, as i’ve pointed out now and then, extend to other matters as well. James Madison, who wrote in defense of the 2nd Amendment (and contrary to a retired City College professor who asserted to me that the 2nd Amendment was written to avoid the draft— which NO ONE back then was talking about since after the war they virtually disbanded the army entirely)…

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Our professors and liberal leaders have clearly done what Madison advised against above and have taken words apart from their historical context as they tried to reinterpret and reconnect the founders’ words with the professors’ own desires.  And as a result we are, in my opinion, getting the very government he feared would intrinsically follow: “…a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”

Perhaps in part that is because we did not heed Madison’s other prescient warnings, such as…

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

And elsewhere he noted.

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. … It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad. … It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

Madison also had something to say to those who believe it is the role of government to provide a common trough from which all might feed.

“The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy.” 

So what is the point of all of this recitation?  Why have I here and in other posts tried to show what the founding fathers and the intellectual mentors they admired wrote and meant as contrasted with modern, and mostly liberal, attempts to claim otherwise?  The reason is simple and straightforward.

I believe the country those great mean defined and founded was the best thing that ever happened to the history of man’s attempts to form “…a more perfect union.”  Yes it has flaws but our Constitution also provides the means to correct them.  But, to the point, we cannot accurately asses their words and deeds without accurately understanding their true intentions and foundational beliefs.  If we try to make course corrections without that understanding we are almost guaranteed to make mistakes and in this world those could be culturally and nationally deadly.

Many of the same issues facing them are facing us.  The world has grown and evolved but in some fundamental ways not changed all that much.  And human nature, sadly, has not appeared to have changed at all.  Our modern world may provide additional solutions to those problems facing us, but if we cannot accurately understand what the real problems they were addressing with their solutions and simply try to attack the bottom line, our chances of lasting success are virtually nil as are the chances of not doing some damage to the good parts as well.

My fear therefore stems from the fact that I believe that as we as a nation, following mostly liberal thinking, have drawn further and further away from the principles laid down by the founders starting with that document signed on the first 4th of July,  Our nation has gone, as a result, from growth to decline.

I believe that if the liberal socialist ideals embraced by much of Europe, and profoundly held by our current president, continue to expand and control, then we are doomed.  Like every other time in human history socialist economics has been applied and failed, it will fail with us too. There have been no exceptions to that litany of failure and we will not be the first.

In fact the country and especially this state (California) are poster children for the proposition that Socialist/Keynesian economics will bring any followers to ruin.  I fear, along with John Adams, that,

“… a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  And…

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” 

I also believe that when we find ourselves adrift in terms of core values just as we are adrift economically; when we reach, as we seem to have started doing, the point where we refuse to discriminate between right and wrong and insist morality is an old and obsolete concept, then our national soul is a rotten as our national purse and we, of right, are laying the seeds of our own destruction. Again, in the words of John Adams,

“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” 

I sadly am increasingly of the belief that King Barrack knows his Adams well.   He is not very good with the sword, as we are seeing, but he is beyond excellent with debt.

So on this Fourth of July in 2011 I will be celebrating the birthday of what was, at one time, the greatest country on earth.  For those who feel that this celebration has no benefit to them then I would say you need to re-assess your thinking or seriously consider emigration to a country more in line with your beliefs.

You cannot have it both ways.  If you belong to the “blame America first” thinkers, and if, eventually, you get your way and we turn into another socialist country of the current European model, then we will simply have their problems (think Greece as the exemplar of that ideal) you will lose the good things you wanted to keep.

If, on the other hand, you help those like me turn the country back to what it was you may lose your place at the government trough because I would personally throw the trough away.  But with that comes a place of true freedom, a place where, for those willing to work for it, the pursuit of happiness can result in success to a level unachievable in those other places from which our immigrants have come.

And if you are an immigrant, legal or otherwise, please think about this: you came here to escape a place where you were treated poorly or had no hope of rising past the level you were in.  Why would you then want to turn us back into the place you came from?

So instead of turning your environment into little enclaves of “the old country,” do what our earlier immigrants did: buy into the hope and possibilities of this great land, buy into the words and meanings and values of the Declaration of Independence celebrated on this day, buy into the freedoms memorialized in our unique Constitution, and do all you can do to let us and help us grow and all you can do to keep us from slipping into the same approaches and attitudes and allegiances and corruptions that defined and described the places from which you came.

If we will only open our eyes and see it, there are benefits to us all from celebrating the birthday of the signing of our Declaration of Independence.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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